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Prulia Chhau dance, West Bengal ⓒBanglanatak.com

India Holds National Intangible Heritage Festival 2016

The National Intangible Heritage Festival (NIHF) 2016 will be held from 15 to 18 November at the Amaravati Heritage Centre & Museum and around the Amaravati Heritage Town in Guntur Dt., Andhra Pradesh. It was organized by the National Museum of Natural History of India (NMNH) and will be hosted by the Tourism, Culture and Heritage Departments of the state government and facilitated by the International Institute for the Inclusive Museum.

The NIHF originates from the Intangible Heritage Festivals (IHF) organized by the NMNH, which has taken place in various locations, including Shanghai, Seoul, and New Delhi. The IHF held last year in Kalady, India, adopted the Kalady Charter that highlights the primary role of ICH communities and stakeholders, including natural history museums safeguarding intangible heritage, and changed its format to the NIHF. The IHF 2015 led to a number of positive outcomes, among which is the establishment of the Centre for Intangible Heritage Studies in a local university.

The NIHF 2016, which is highly anticipated to produce fruitful and promising results as its predecessor, has the following main objectives: first, to raise awareness about the equal importance of cultural and natural aspects of intangible heritage for its safeguarding; and second, to promote the understanding that museums are important social institutions for better interpretation of heritage. The festival also intends to suggest the NIHF as a national platform on all aspects of intangible heritage and propose a plan of action for the preparation of intangible heritage policy of Andhra Pradesh.

The NIHF 2016 will focus on two themes: intangible heritage of Andhra Pradesh, and intangible heritage and sustainable practices in Indian culture. Discussions will address popularization of the concept of intangible heritage, both cultural and natural, networking with stakeholders for the safeguarding of intangible heritage in India, and development of capacity-building programs on intangible heritage. Various sessions and programs will be provided in this context. On the third day of the festival, workshops on drafting an intangible heritage policy model of Andhra Pradesh will take place. On the fourth and last day, a presentation will be delivered about intangible heritage and India’s culture of climate friendly sustainable practices. The NIHF 2016 will also feature various opportunities to enhance networking on intangible heritage, such as an overview of and expert speeches on the 2003 Convention, case studies on intangible heritage, and study tours and cultural events.

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